Theatre North is among the three oldest continuously operating community theatres in the United States. There have been over 130 production on the Theatre North stage, but the stage hasn’t always been in the same location. Theatre North was formed in 1964 and presented “Blithe Spirit” at Kaleva Hall on Aurora Street. Admission was $1.00. Productions continued at that location and at the Ironwood Memorial Building until the group purchased the Scandinavian Hall (Eagle’s Club) on McLeod Street in downtown Ironwood in 1966. (That site is currently a motorcycle repair shop) The Theatre presented it’s productions at that location for 20 years, selling the property in 1986. The Theatre then held performances at the historic Ironwood Theatre and at the Towne House.
T.N. purchased the Bark River Culvert and Equipment building on Lake Street in Ironwood in 1987 (formerly a Coca-Cola bottling plant in the 1940s) and this is our current location. The summer of 1987 was spent renovating the building with the support of many businesses and community members. Theatre North’s Board Members provided many volunteer hours to create a space which provides audience members with an intimate atmosphere to view productions. “Oliver” was the first production to be performed in the current theatre building when we opened our doors to the public in November 1987.
We have made face-lifts and upgrades to the theatre building since. The roof was replaced in 2010 with a metal roof. In 2002 eight murals were painted on the exterior of the building by local artists working under the supervision of Kelly Meredith (the artist responsible for the downtown murals in Ashland WI) Repairs have been made to the heating system, the exterior has had tuck-point repairs, and the lobby has been refurbished. In 2004 Kelly Meredith was commissioned to paint the front entrance. The roof was replaced with metal roofing in 2012 and the loft at the front of the building was re-insulated in 2013. Renovation of the dressing and make-up rooms is ongoing and repairs to the exterior window sills is scheduled.
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